Day 21~ Matt. 23 & Prov. 20
I have a five year old who asks me frequently what my favorite number is. His favorite number changes from time to time. I remember talking about favorite numbers with my sister when we were little. People have favorite numbers. I am noticing that 7 may be God’s favorite number! Maybe because he got to rest on the 7th day…who knows…but he uses 7 a lot!!
Anyway, in today’s reading we see Jesus using 7 again! 7 Woes! Scholars note that the 7 woes here are in contrast to the seven blessings in Matt. 5:3-9. I thought I would compare the two lists of 7:
Blessed are the:
1.) Poor in spirit
4.) Pure in Heart
6.) Persecuted for righteousness
7.) Others persecute you on Jesus’ account
Woe to those who:
1.) Shut the kingdom of heaven in peoples faces
2.) Entrap converts
3.) Use biding oaths
4.) Neglect weighty matters
5.) Look clean yet are filthy inside
6.) Have outward beauty, dead inside
7.) Follow ancestors footsteps by murdering prophets
It’s remarkable how the blessed list describes one with pure motives, thinking of others; the other with self-serving motives regardless of how it affects others.
I’m reminded of what we just read in Matthew 22. Jesus described how to love God and others and ended with, “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (22:40)
God never changes (Malachi 3:6); His law was always about grace and mercy. Man did the changes. Clearly, the scribes and Pharisees over time, got derailed from what Old Testament Law taught and Jesus was setting everyone straight again. Thankfully we still have Jesus, in our heart, setting us straight when our natural tendency is to be like the scribes and Pharisees!